Switzerland’s GDP adjusted for sporting events saw no growth in the fourth quarter of 2022 (+0.0%), following a 0.2% increase in the third quarter *,**. The challenging international environment curbed manufacturing output and also exports. Domestic demand showed robust growth.
The global economic slowdown took its toll on manufacturing (−0.3%) in the fourth quarter of 2022. While the less cyclically sensitive chemical and pharmaceutical industry (+1.7%) recorded further growth in value added, the other industrial sectors contracted. This led to lower exports in metals and precision instruments, for example. Overall, exports*** (−0.9%) posted a significant decline. Imports**** (−1.1%) also fell considerably, after recording strong growth the previous quarter.
Domestic final demand (+0.5%) maintained the strong momentum of the previous quarter. Investments in equipment (+1.7%) posted an above-average increase. For example, investment in motor vehicles continued to rise as supply bottlenecks eased. However, construction investment (−0.5%) dipped further, in line with the decline in value added in the construction sector (−0.2%). Commercial construction was down in particular, while resi-dential construction showed some signs of recovery for the first time in 18 months. Finally, both government consumption (+0.3%) and private consumption (+0.3%) recorded growth in the last quarter of 2022 that was slightly below average. While consumer spending on services continued to rise, the development of retail sales was muted . Value added in retail trade thus stagnated (+0.0%), and growth in trade (+0.4%) remained subdued overall.
Tourism continued to recover from the coronavirus pandemic, with a further increase in the number of tourists coming to Switzerland. Value added in the accommodation and food services sector (+1.5%) increased yet again but was still 5% below the pre-pandemic level from the end of 2019. Fourth-quarter growth in the transport and communications sector (+0.1%) was tempered by sluggish industrial activity. While most of the remaining service sectors recorded some growth in the fourth quarter, value added stagnated in business-related services (+0.0%) and declined in financial services (–2.5%).
Initial results for 2022
According to the provisional results available, GDP in 2022 adjusted for seasonal and calendar effects and sporting events grew by 2.1 %, compared with 3.9 % the previous year. As both 2021 and 2022 had major international sporting events, the unadjusted GDP growth rate for 2022 (rounded) also comes in at 2.1 %, compared with 4.2 % in 2021.
While economic performance in 2022 was boosted by the recovery from the pandemic, at the same time it was held back by the tense energy situation in Europe and a gloomy international environment.
The catch-up effects were particularly evident in services and private consumer spending, which grew significantly despite higher inflation rates. Exports of services also registered strong growth. However, growth in goods exports was modest. Manufacturing posted above-average growth in 2022 on the back of strong momentum at the beginning of the year.
In order to facilitate the cyclical interpretation, SECO comments in this press release on results which have been seasonally adjusted and (where applicable) adjusted for sporting events. The adjustment for sporting events concerns GDP, the ‘arts, entertainment and recreation’ sector, and service exports and imports*****.
The underlying data and more information on GDP in the fourth quarter can be found in the spring 2023 edition of Konjunkturtendenzen (Economic situation in Switzerland) at www.seco.admin.ch/gdp
* To facilitate cyclical interpretation, this press release provides quarter-on-quarter growth rates in real terms, seasonally adjusted and (where applicable) adjusted for sporting events. The adjustment for sporting events concerns GDP, the ‘arts, entertainment and recreation’ sector, and service exports and imports. Further information on the adjustment for sporting events can be found at http://www.seco.admin.ch/gdp under ‘Documents’.
** The impact of sporting events on GDP growth rates was only marginal in the third and fourth quarters. Therefore, excluding adjustments for sporting events, GDP growth was also 0.0% in the fourth quarter, down from 0.2% in the third quarter.
*** Goods and services excluding valuables. Not adjusted for sporting events: −0.3%.
**** Goods and services excluding valuables. Not adjusted for sporting events: −0.7%.
***** For further information on the impacts of sporting events, see https://dievolkswirtschaft.ch/de/?p=179752&v (in German and French).